Travel around the world: Will my partner agree to sell up and go walkabout with me? – Jim Duffy

Jim Duffy is excited by the prospect of buying a ‘really nice’ camper van and going travelling but will his partner want to do that too?

While some may be happy with a VW camper van, Jim Duffy has been looking at the more luxurious end of the market (Picture: Neil Hanna)
While some may be happy with a VW camper van, Jim Duffy has been looking at the more luxurious end of the market (Picture: Neil Hanna)

A new era is upon us. We are slowly moving from lockdown to some kind of normal. The sourdough revolution seems to be coming to end. No more kitchen surfaces swimming in flour as we pretend we are master bakers. The Zoom quizzes are fizzling out – thank god. Mind you, I did pick up a few nuggets of wisdom. Wearing a mask now seems normal and not like we are living on some distant planet. Of course, Covid is here to stay for a long time. So no point in kidding ourselves that it is a momentary blip in time. But, as we venture out again with ten quid off our weekday meals, what else will you do?

Well, I have had a radical thought. I haven’t shared it with my partner yet, so she will read it afresh here. Maybe that’s a good thing. It will take massive step change in how we live our lives. But, I think it could be really good fun. Here we go. Honey, how about selling up, buying a really nice camper van and travelling the world?!

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I guess for many of you that will not sound all that radical. But if you break it down into little pieces, it’s actually pretty hefty. First there is the job of getting the house on the market. A bit of painting and decorating. Some gardening and landscaping maybe. Putting unwanted furniture up for sale on Facebook. Giving other items to charity shops. Scaling down the clothes drawers and all the bits and bobs that sit on shelves that we never use. But, some of this will have to go into storage. So, any family members with attics or garages?

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Next up is picking an estate agent, making sure the deeds are all correct and teeing up the conveyancing lawyer. Then paying for a home report and hoping for the best. A whole raft of “ones” needed and no remedial works to chimneys or damp detected. Make no mistake, this all takes time and effort. The whole legal process needs to be well-planned.

And of course there’s the car. It has to be sold or handed back to the dealer. Where does one sell a car these days? Looks like it’s an advert in Autotrader or similar. But, I’m not sure who actually reads these ads. Perhaps I’ll have to contact webuyanycar etc. If I pop in my registration and mileage, it gives me a ballpark figure. Or if you’ve bought it on a PCP contract, then how much will it take to clear it off and give it back? So many decisions, eh?

I’ll need a post box or family member to re-direct mail to. This is important as insurers and banks will need to know where we are. The dog will need its doggy passports updated and any jabs, for say, Europe. And, while we are at it, a visit to the dentist may not be a bad thing just to tidy up any dental issues pre-journey.

There we are then, I think that is us ready to go buy a campervan!

And this is where it begins to get tricky. Leaving all the necessities and luxuries in life is not to be sniffed at. Central heating, hot baths, power-showers, comfy beds, sofas and fitted kitchens will no longer be available to us. Essentially we will have a small caravan on wheels right? Well, this is the bit that surprised me the most – campervans are awesome these days!

As I started to explore this new world that in essence I’m giving my existing world up for, things look quite exciting. Today’s motorhomes have hot water and a shower built into the bathroom. There is air conditioning that blows hot and cold. Hot for northern Europe and cold for those hot balmy days in the French Riviera. Electric blinds shut off the outside world within seconds and there is a ton of storage space.

The best bits are still to come. The kitchens in these little diamonds have ovens, microwaves, full-size fridge freezers and plenty of power points. All neatly fitted into cleverly thought-out spaces. The bathrooms are phonebox-like but boast everything needed to be comfortable. You can have a separate bedroom at the rear that is completely closed off with wait for it – a double bed, wardrobes and windows. How cool is that! And for extra space a double fold-down bed drops down above the driver’s space all worked by smart electrics.

Throw in a whole array of gizmos and gadgets, Wifi, TVs and storage space and the 21st-century camper van is a home from home. But there is a sting in the tail. We are gonna need to get a good offer on the house as these new motorhomes don’t come cheap. Let’s just say that 50 grand is a cheap one if you want all the home comforts. But 75 grand will get you a tidy van! Looks like we need the estate agent to go a great job and get as much as possible for the house.

Phew... with all that done, we still haven’t even mapped out where we would go first. But, I think from the moment my partner agrees to go walkabout with me, it will take six months to get all of the above in place and in order. So, we have lots of time to plan our next chapter as we roam Europe.

I must say, I’m truly excited and looking forward to my first cup of coffee in my new home.

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